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Lot 086

b. Penang, 1930 - 2010


Signed and dated ‘CHOON GHEE 1980’ with Chinese seal
lower left
Ink on rice paper
72cm x 47cm

Private collection, Penang.

ESTIMATE  RM 7,000 - 10,000
It has been said that drawings are the backbone of art and it is in Tan Choon Ghee’s confident and bold strokes of his ink works that one can truly admire his skills and draughtsmanship. This monochromatic work shows a clan-house fitted with a temple-style rooftop and sandwiched between two ordinary double-storey living abodes in the Straits Eclectic style. The top has a spacious balcony with ceramic balustrades overlooking the street, which looks busy with passers-by and a stationary food hawker besides an incoming trishaw. Here, Choon Ghee has skillfully inked vertical and horizontal lines of various weights to create a remarkable balance while his clear use of various shades of grey helps build depth and space into the piece.

Tan Choon Ghee is legendary for his watercolours of Penang street life. He graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art in Singapore in 1951 and went on to study at the Slade School of Art, London graduating in 1959. Then he received a German Government painting scholarship and an Australian Government TV set design scholarship. He worked for TV Singapore and TV Broadcast Ltd in Hong Kong before deciding to become a full-time artist. Choon Ghee was given a Retrospective (1957- 2000) by the Penang State Art Gallery in 2000 and another Retrospective (1957-1992) by The Art Gallery, Penang.

The Art of Tan Choon Ghee, Georgetown Printers, 1997.
Tan Choon Ghee Retrospective (1957-1992), The Art Gallery, Penang.
A Tribute to Tan Choon Ghee, Art Salon@SENI, Kuala Lumpur, 2009.